|Product Details |
Harry N Abrams
Girls, girls, girls. And well-endowed boys. They're the subjects of Thomas Ruff Nudes, a book of photographs by a well-known German artist best known for his searching images of faces, night skies and architecture. The new photographs were pulled off Internet porn sites and enlarged, colored and blurred by the artist. The fascinating thing about these nudes is the way the indistinct tumble of imagery replicates the physical sensation of sex. Everything is hazy, incomplete, replete with longing--a giddy carnival of orifices and sex organs. Skin is suffused with the blush of sexual arousal. Women offer themselves to unseen men and to one another. Some might say that Ruff is "making a statement" about the easy availability of pornography. Nonsense. He is documenting, in his painterly way, the elemental human urges that attract us to each other's flesh. The most interesting images in the book are the most abstract, revealing sexual appetite as the eternal pursuit of another body's knobs and holes. Accompanying the photographs is an earthy, supposedly fictional, fragment by the controversial French novelist Michel Houellebecq. The narrator reminisces about the years when he and his wife visited sex clubs on the Riviera. He writes of "dark rooms where people make love without choosing partners, submerged in the flux of tactile sensation." This is the world of Ruff's most successful photographs, a place where the staginess of pornography is transformed into the realm of pure desire. --Cathy Curtis
About the Author
Since 1982, Thomas Ruff has had more than 85 solo exhibitions throughout the world in galleries and museums, and his work is in the public collections of many major museums. In 2002 he received the Citigroup Photography Prize. He lives in Dusseldorf. Michel Houellebecq is a French novelist and critic whose 1998 novel The Elementary Particles was a huge bestseller in France and has since been translated into 25 languages. He lives near Cork in Ireland.
Thomas Ruff (b. 1958), known for his deadpan portraits and gorgeous views of the night sky and architecture, is one of Germany's leading contemporary artist/photographers. Among his recent work is an exploration of the internet, that parallel visual universe teeming with sexuality of every flavor and variety. He gathers from that virtual playground erotic and often pornographic photographs that he subsequently manipulates in his computer, making beautiful--and disturbing--artwork from visual material that, for better or worse, is probably more abundant than any other type of image in our world today.
The pictures, which are graphic and abstract at the same time, are accompanied by an excerpt from a forthcoming novel by controversial French writer Michel Houellebecq, whose work is similarly influenced by the sex industry. Reviewing the series in the Village Voice, Jerry Saltz wrote: "Ruff may think these images are analytic or objective, but they're also sweetly, luxuriantly visual...Sex slips into something ravishingly, optically comfortable, and these everyday, off-world images morph into parapaintings from the Planet Love."